Morecambe MP’s ‘boasting’ jibe denied by security boss

Brendan Hughes.
Brendan Hughes.

The Morecambe MP has told the Commons how unemployment is falling in the town and claimed the proof is the ‘boasts’ of a local Labour councillor.

David Morris brought up comments made by Brendan Hughes in last week’s Lancaster Guardian during a debate in Parliament.

David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, speaking in Parliament.

David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, speaking in Parliament.

Referring to last week’s ‘Chamber Chat’ column by Coun Hughes, Mr Morris said he had been “boasting about his business”.

Coun Hughes, a Lancaster city councillor for Poulton and owner of ICU Security, said the MP had misinterpreted his words.

Mr Morris told his fellow MPs on Monday: “Unemployment is dropping in my constituency – so much so that a Labour councillor was boasting about his business and saying that he cannot get enough employees to fill the positions.”

Coun Hughes’ article said: “With the cutting of policing budgets and the perception that police are less visible, I have seen a sharp increase in demand for private security.

“This of course is good news for me and the industry in general, unfortunately it comes with a down side. I am finding that the industry cannot keep up with the recruitment demands and most companies worth their salt are having to constantly recruit to keep up with demand.”

The Tory MP later told the Guardian: “I must also add that it is absolutely not true to say that police cuts have caused an increase in security demand, as over the next five years overall police spending will be protected in real terms...an increase of £900m cash by 2019-20.”

Coun Hughes said in response: “I certainly wasn’t boasting.

“We can’t get enough people into the industry mainly because it’s expensive to get into since the Government brought in the new SIA (Security Industry Authority) licence. But I didn’t mean that there is nobody in the dole queue.”

Mr Morris was speaking in the Commons about the new Lifetime ISA (LISA) during Monday’s second reading of the Government’s new Savings (Government Contributions) Bill. The LISA will allow people aged from 18 to 40 to pay in up to £4,000 each year into a savings account, and receive a 25 per cent government bonus. Mr Morris backed the LISA, saying it should not be seen as a top-up to a pension but instead as something to help savers. But critics have warned the product is too complicated and might leave investors worse off.